A businessman who burned a sketch by artist Frida Kahlo to promote NFT sales based on it is under investigation and could face prosecution. Martin Mobarak burned his $10 million worth of paintings in martini glasses at a 1994 Miami party.
Kahlo’s sketch, called ‘Fantasmones Siniestros’ or ‘Sinister Ghosts’, made in 1944, was a crayon, pencil and ink drawing showing a collection of surreal creatures. Apparently, from behind the scenes he was destroyed at his Frida.NFT launch party aiming to sell 10,000 of his NFTs. The New York Times reports The project has sold 4 NFTs so far.
Video of the event shows Mobarak, surrounded by absurd levels of security, removing the photo from the frame, then placing it in a martini glass and setting it on fire. Believe it or not, a mariachi his band starts playing the popular Mexican song “Cielito his Lindo.” Some in the crowd cheer the act.
“I had to do something drastic to get attention,” Mobarak told The New York Times.
There is some skepticism as to whether even the Web 3.0 crowd would actually pull off such a crude stunt, and whether the pictures being burned are real.
Mobarak says he purchased the painting in 2015 and claims the piece he burned is authentic. NFT sites include: certificate of authenticity This is the source of the original. Among those who doubt that Mobarak really burned it, he says:
The Mexican National Institute of Arts and Letters is currently investigating whether Mobarak committed a federal crime by burning the original Kahlo. Mexican law since 1984 It can be punished as an “artistic monument”, with decades of imprisonment and a fine equivalent to the work’s value.
Frida Kahlo Museum in Coyoacan a statement condemning the actand pointed out that it owns the rights to all of Kahlo’s works and does not give permission for the NFTs being created. He said it had nothing to do with the activity.
Gregorio Luke, an expert in the arts and culture of Mexico and Latin America, Said: “I think this man should be in jail.”
The Frida.NFT project seeks to make this act one of global philanthropy. “This momentous act was done to give hope to unhappy and sick children, abused women and other disadvantaged people around the world.”
Mobarak’s plan was to sell 10,000 NFTs at 3 ETH each. At about $3,600 at current prices, that would theoretically raise about $36 million. “I’m a fan of Frida. She endured her physical, mental and emotional pain.” Mobarak told the Miami Herald“I use that one little painting to create something really nice that she will love.”
Of all the NFT trends, this idea of destroying physical items in order to bestow mystical legitimacy on digital tokens is one of the worst. Artist Damien Hirst recently jumped at the idea. 2021 project called Heni With 10,000 works of art, buyers can choose to keep the originals or destroy them and get NFTs over the course of a year. 4,581 buyers chose his NFT option. Number 17 in the collection is titled “This Is Not Important”.
In 2021 there was also a stunt for the group “Burnt Banksy”. Burned a Banksy paintingThere is at least an element of wit to this example, Banksy’s piece is titled Morons and depicts an auction room of people buying art at Christies.
Where this ends is anyone’s guess. Mobarak has either punked the art world or truly destroyed the work of his one of the 20th century’s greatest artists to sell his NFTs that no one seems to want. Either. Given the profile the stunt has achieved, it seems almost certain that Mexican authorities will track him down if he burns the real thing, but the Kahlo Museum is seeking legal remedies for the misuse of her work. It has a long history of being sought after.
“People may see it because I destroyed it.” Mobarak said“But I didn’t. This is how I bring it into the world. I make it available for everyone to see. Sitting in someone’s personal collection.” Not only that, but it’s better for the world and I think I’ll make a statement.”